Genesis 20:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman."

New Living Translation
But that night God came to Abimelech in a dream and told him, "You are a dead man, for that woman you have taken is already married!"

English Standard Version
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”

New American Standard Bible
But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married."

King James Bible
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, "You are about to die because of the woman you have taken, for she is a married woman."

International Standard Version
But God came to Abimelech in a dream during the night and spoke to him, "Pay attention! You're about to die, because the woman you have taken is a man's wife!"

NET Bible
But God appeared to Abimelech in a dream at night and said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken, for she is someone else's wife."

New Heart English Bible
But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Look, you are a dead man, because of the woman whom you have taken. For she is a man's wife."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
God came to Abimelech in a dream one night and said to him, "You're going to die because of the woman that you've taken! She's a married woman!"

JPS Tanakh 1917
But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him: 'Behold, thou shalt die, because of the woman whom thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.'

New American Standard 1977
But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, Behold, thou art a dead man, for the woman whom thou hast taken, for she is a man's wife.

King James 2000 Bible
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, you are but a dead man, for the woman that you have taken; for she is a man's wife.

American King James Version
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, you are but a dead man, for the woman which you have taken; for she is a man's wife.

American Standard Version
But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, because of the woman whom thou hast taken. For she is a man's wife.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and he said to him: Lo thou shalt die for the woman thou hast taken: for she hath a husband.

Darby Bible Translation
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art [but] a dead man, because of the woman that thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.

English Revised Version
But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, because of the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.

Webster's Bible Translation
But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, on account of the woman whom thou hast taken: for she is a man's wife.

World English Bible
But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Behold, you are a dead man, because of the woman whom you have taken. For she is a man's wife."

Young's Literal Translation
And God cometh in unto Abimelech in a dream of the night, and saith to him, 'Lo, thou art a dead man, because of the woman whom thou hast taken -- and she married to a husband.'
Study Bible
Abraham, Sarah and Abimelech
2Abraham said of Sarah his wife, "She is my sister." So Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah. 3But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, "Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is married." 4Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, "Lord, will You slay a nation, even though blameless?…
Cross References
Genesis 12:17
But the LORD struck Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram's wife.

Genesis 12:18
Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, "What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?

Genesis 20:7
"Now therefore, restore the man's wife, for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you will live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours."

Genesis 31:24
God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream of the night and said to him, "Be careful that you do not speak to Jacob either good or bad."

Numbers 22:9
Then God came to Balaam and said, "Who are these men with you?"

1 Chronicles 16:21
He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes, saying,

Psalm 105:14
He permitted no man to oppress them, And He reproved kings for their sakes:
Treasury of Scripture

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, you are but a dead man, for the woman which you have taken; for she is a man's wife.

a dream.

Genesis 28:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the …

Genesis 31:24 And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said to …

Genesis 37:5,9 And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brothers: and they …

Genesis 40:8 And they said to him, We have dreamed a dream, and there is no interpreter …

Genesis 41:1 And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: …

Job 4:12,13 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and my ear received a little thereof…

Job 33:15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, …

Matthew 1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD …

Matthew 2:12,13 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to …

Matthew 27:19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, …

a dead.

Genesis 20:7 Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and …

Psalm 105:14 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yes, he reproved kings for their sakes;

Ezekiel 33:14,15 Again, when I say to the wicked, You shall surely die; if he turn …

Jonah 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, …

a man's wife. Heb. married to an husband.

(3) God (Elohim) came . . . --From the use of this title of the Deity it has been said that this narrative is an Elohistic form of the Jehovistic narrative inGenesis 12:10-20. But we have seen that even in the History of the Fall, where the writer in so remarkable a manner styles the Deity Jehovah-Elohim, he nevertheless restricts Eve and the serpent in their conversation to the name Elohim. With the same care in the application of the names, it is necessarily Elohim who appears to a heathen king; and had the title Jehovah been used it would have been a violation of the narrator's rule. Moreover, the sole reason for calling that narrative Jehovistic is that in Genesis 12:17 it is Jehovah who plagues Pharaoh for Sarah's sake. But equally here, Genesis 20:18, it is Jehovah who protects Sarah from Abimelech; in both cases it being the covenant- God, who saves his people from injury.

Thou art but a dead man.--Heb., thou diest, or art dying. Abimelech was already suffering from the malady spoken of in Genesis 20:17, when Elohim appeared to him and warned him that death would be the result of perseverance in retaining Sarah. It was this malady which was the cause of the abstention spoken of in Genesis 20:4; Genesis 20:6.

Verse 3. - But God - Elohim; whence the present chapter, with the exception of Ver. 18, is assigned to the Elohist (Tuch, De Wette, Bleek, Davidson), and the incident at Gerar explained as the original legend, of which the story of Sarah's abduction by Pharaoh is the Jehovistic imitation. But

(1) the use of Elohim throughout the present chapter is sufficiently accounted for by observing that it describes the intercourse of Deity with a heathen monarch, to whom the name of Jehovah was unknown, while the employment of the latter term in Ver. 18 may be ascribed to the fact that it is the covenant God of Sarah who there interposes for her protection; and

(2) the apparent resemblance between the two incidents is more than counterbalanced by the points of diversity which subsist between them - came to Abimelech in a dream - the usual mode of self-revelation employed by Elohim towards heathen. Cf. Pharaoh's dreams (Genesis 41:1) and Nebuchadnezzar's (Daniel 4:5), as distinguished from the visions in which Jehovah manifests his presence to his people. Cf. the theophanies vouchsafed to Abraham (Genesis 12:7; Genesis 15:1; Genesis 18:1) and to Jacob (Genesis 28:13; Genesis 32:24), and the visions granted to Daniel (Daniel 7:1-28; Daniel 10:5-9) and the prophets generally, which, though sometimes occurring in dreams, were yet a higher form of Divine manifestation than the dreams - by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, - literally, behold thyself dying, or about to die - σὺ ἀποθνήσκεις (LXX.). Abimelech, it is probable, was by this time suffering from the malady which had fallen on his house (vide Ver. 17) - for (i.e. on account of) the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife - literally, married to a husband, or under lordship to a lord (cf. Deuteronomy 22:22). But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night,.... Put a dream into his mind, by which he cautioned him against taking Sarah to be his wife; so careful was the Lord that no wrong should be done to such a godly and virtuous person, to which she was exposed through the weakness of her husband. Aben Ezra wrongly interprets this of an angel, when it was God himself:

and said unto him, behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; that is, God would punish him with death, unless he restored the woman, whom he had taken, to her husband; not for any uncleanness he had committed with her, but for taking her without her free and full consent, and without inquiring more strictly into her relation to Abraham, and connection with him, and for his impure and unlawful desires after her, if persisted in:

for she is a man's wife, or "married to an husband" (c); and therefore it was unlawful in him to take her to be his wife.

(c) "maritata marito", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Schmidt. 3. But God came to Abimelech in a dream—In early times a dream was often made the medium of communicating important truths; and this method was adopted for the preservation of Sarah.20:1-8 Crooked policy will not prosper: it brings ourselves and others into danger. God gives Abimelech notice of his danger of sin, and his danger of death for his sin. Every wilful sinner is a dead man, but Abimelech pleads ignorance. If our consciences witness, that, however we may have been cheated into a snare, we have not knowingly sinned against God, it will be our rejoicing in the day of evil. It is matter of comfort to those who are honest, that God knows their honesty, and will acknowledge it. It is a great mercy to be hindered from committing sin; of this God must have the glory. But if we have ignorantly done wrong, that will not excuse us, if we knowingly persist in it. He that does wrong, whoever he is, prince or peasant, shall certainly receive for the wrong which he has done, unless he repent, and, if possible, make restitution.
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